Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Winery Location: Stellenbosch
Cellarmaster: De Wet Viljoen
Winemaker: Jacobus van Zyl
Background: In 2009 The Neethlingshof wine estate outside Stellenbosch launched a highly successful reserve tier of wines, made exclusively from hand-picked grapes, which are named The Short Story Collection. They draw attention to Neethlingshof’s rich and varied narratives, and initially they started the collection with three limited edition wines each of which focus on a specific aspect of the estate’s philosophy or history.
They have the Owl Post, being a single-vineyard Pinotage, and draws attention to the estate’s integrated pest management that forms part of the winery’s focus on production integrity to reduce its dependence on pesticides. Owl posts have been placed strategically throughout the vineyards. The wine has been produced from dryland vines established in deep red soils that is rich in organic material and amply feeds the roots. The Caracal, which is their flagship Bordeaux style blend, celebrates the return of the rooikat to Neethlingshof since the start of its programme two years ago to conserve and rehabilitate areas of indigenous habitat, particularly the unique ecosystems surrounding the estate’s granite hills. These Rooikatte are now also breeding on Neethlingshof. The Maria which is the new name for the acclaimed Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest and honours Maria Magdalena Marais, the resourceful and feisty young widow who took over the building of the Neethlingshof estate’s manor house after the death of her husband, Charles, in 1813. The Six Flowers was added to the collection in 2012 which was Neethlingshof’s first wooded white wine, which is a blend of the six white cultivars that grow on the farm.
This month saw the fifth and final wine added to the Short Story Collection being the Jackals Dance 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. The name stems from farmer Willem Barend Lubbe who in 1692 mistakenly identified a pack of indigenous jackals for the wolves of his homeland, and named the property De Wolvendans. It’s a name that would stand for more than a century, and it was only when Johannes Henoch Neethling bought the property from his mother-in-law in the late-1820s that the farm’s name was changed to Neethlingshof.
While Jackal’s Dance pays tribute to those early years, centuries later the shy Cape Fox is still to be found roaming the farm.
This single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was, after fermentation kept on the lees for several months prior to bottling giving the wine extra complexity.
Result: Subtle herbaceous aromas with nuances of tropical fruit follow on to intense fruit structure on the palate with a lingering dry lemon tail.
When to drink: Now till 2020
Drink with what: De Wet Viljoen suggests: “It’s a wine that will pair beautifully with both fish and oysters; anything with a bit of fattiness to it,” explains Viljoen. “It’s a perfect summer wine, ideal for enjoying at this hot time of year.”
Expect to pay: R119.00